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Review: Shazam for BlackBerry Smartphones

By Ryan Blundell on 30 Dec 2009 08:43 am EST
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shazam

Some of my favourite songs and artists were discovered by accident. Whether a song was heard while passing by a store or used in a movie, some songs instantly find a way to connect to you. All it takes is a simple beat, a line or a snippet of the melody and you find yourself in a determined mindset, bent on discovering what you have just heard. You may find some success in using a line or two while searching online, but other than that, you'll have to ask around. Then again, you might be too shy or embarrassed to start a beat way off key, almost cracking glass, to ask someone:

"What's the name of the song that goes ba da da dum dee da…?"

Some carriers, like Rogers Wireless, used to offer a service where they would find the artist/song in question for you and send it to you via SMS. For Rogers, the service was called #DJ. To be honest, I used the service only once…maybe twice. To find true musical discoveries, you only need to utter the one word that a handful of characters like Gomer Pyle and Billy Batson have wielded - Shazam. There's no magic lighting required though it would be pretty cool. The only magic present is what information you may uncover.

About Shazam 

Shazam Entertainment, the company behind the Shazam mobile application, began shedding light on musical enigmas in 2002. No more nearly hopeless searching, no more waiting for a chance to hear the song again. Today, over 50 million music lovers are reveling in songs that were found using Shazam. Way back in April, we told BlackBerry users and abusers of its availability, though be it in beta. Now, after having a chance to dance to the music, I break out into song, as I bring you this review. According to BlackBerry App World, the Shazam mobile application is available for the following series, 81xx, 83xx, 85xx, 88xx, Curve 8900, Bold (and Bold 9700), Storm (and Storm 2) and Tour. Currently in version 2.1, Shazam for BlackBerry will require 491 KB of space.

Before you can begin to use Shazam, the application will test out your connectivity. You can also check your connection status at any time, by accessing the settings menu. The applications works over both Wi-Fi and your carrier's network. When Shazam successfully matches the audio sample, you have then "tagged" the song. To begin searching for information on the song you are currently listening to, click on the "Tag Now" button found at the main menu. The preceding screen displays the Shazam logo with animation. Here you can see the status of your search. If successful, it will change from Listening to Sending and then to Matching. I had Shazam set to vibrate when a match was found. Shazam has access to over 8 million tracks, so the chances of it finding your song are pretty good.

shazam
The main menu
shazam
Quiet! I'm trying to listen.
shazam
that's better

Once found, Shazam will display the song title and the artist. You will also see the associated album cover and the date it was tagged. Depending on available information, other shown details may include; genre, name of the album and the name of the label.

shazam
your song has been tagged

At the very bottom of this screen, you will see up to five icons. Again, this is based on the track and availability of information. If you're not using a Storm, the application allows you to either scroll and select by using your trackball/trackpad or your keypad. Numbers 1 through 5 are assigned to each icon.

Buy - this button redirects you to Thumbplay, where you can purchase/download the associated ringtone. Please check out www.thumbplay.com for information on rates, terms and conditions.

More Info - So now you know what song you just fell in love with. Do you want to know more about the song or artist? Here you can do some research, before you decide to download more songs from the artist. Once again, availability of information may vary. Each selection redirects you to Shazam's mobile site. Typically, you can check out track or album reviews, artist biography and discography. For the Tags I have so far, I haven't been able to see the option to view song lyrics yet.

shazam
Want to know more?

Recommendations - "If you like this, you'll love this." Shazam will display 5 tracks from different artists that may peak your interest. By selecting one, you are given the same information and options as you saw with your original tag. This means same 5 icons and same details.

Share Tag - Though some may not want to share their latest find. They may prefer keeping relatively unknown artists to themselves. That being said, Shazam does allow you to share your tags in an email, SMS or PIN. The message will read- "I used Shazam to discover *song title* by *artist*". A link to the track found on Shazam's site will then be displayed.

shazam
it's always nice to share

Delete - What can I say about this option? Um, you can delete the current tag, just in case you couldn't figure it out. Please note that deletions cannot be undone.

The Shazam mobile application has a My Tags section that will display your tags in the order in which they were tagged. There is also a Tag Chart, where you can see songs other users have tagged. This is another great way to discover new (or new to you) music. You can also search by artist, album or title.

Conclusion 

If I can quote Gomer Pyle one more time - "Gaaw-aawl-ly".

The mobile application was extremely easy to navigate through and I found the response time to a tag request very quick. The sharing feature is limited, as other smartphones are able to share via Facebook or Twitter with their mobile app. Perhaps in the future, we will see this as well. All of these options can be found in the premium version of Shazam, which also includes unlimited tags. The free version allows you to make up to 5 tags per month, view your tag list, share tags and purchase/download. If after Shazam's 7 day free trial you decide to purchase the mobile app, it only costs $5.00 USD. If you decide to try, but not buy, you will then be reverted back to the free version. You can find the Shazam mobile app at BlackBerry App World.

Pros

  • Search through a database of over 8 million tracks
  • View detailed artist information
  • Easily tag songs

Cons

  • More sharing options are needed

More Info

Reader comments

Review: Shazam for BlackBerry Smartphones

44 Comments

One huge negative about Shazam is that it was free on my iPhone but not on any BB... this is a joke, as well as the BB store.

...the BlackBerry version is tied to the device PIN. In other words if you have a Tour and purchase Shazam for it, it will only work on that particular Tour.

I switched from a Curve 8900 to a Curve 8520. I noted the PIN of both devices, e-mailed Shazam support about a month ago asking if they can transfer the license to my Curve 8520 (along with proof of purchase), but haven't had any response. Tried sending my e-mail again a week ago and still nothing. This means software that works only in trial mode, money I will never get back and the worst support I've experienced *ever*.

Also, the iPhone version links you to YouTube if you tag music to instantly listen to it. The BlackBerry version misses this feature, which in my opinion is quite an essential feature for this kind of app.

Shazam, it was nice to meet you, but the way you treat BlackBerry users is NOT acceptable. Thanks for nothing.

I was able to transfer my license.

The day after I bought this, my Blackberry died and I had to send it back to my service provider - as soon as I got the new device, I e-mailed Shazam's customer service team and they were able to transfer my license to the new device!

Not sure if this "normal" practice or if Shazam just cut me a break because my 'Berry died the day after buying it, but I found Shazam's customer service to be quite helpful...

Hi There, Apologies for the delay in response. We can certainly
transfer ownership of the software to your new handset. Firstly, please
have the most current Trial Mode of Shazam already installed and set up
on your new device - it can be downloaded from: http://is.gd/IWHh.
I'll also need your: - Original Bango ID - (The one designated to
your original handset;it’s 8-9 digits long, usually beginning with a 3
or 4.) Bango handle all payments made to Shazam. - Your original
Transaction ID- Your old and new BlackBerry PINs (this is how we
associate the software to a specific handset, if you do not know your
old BlackBerry PIN,please forward us any purchase confirmation/receipt
emails you may have). You can retrieve the above Bango information by
logging in to your Bango account (http://bango.net)from your handset .
They are quite prompt in response also. So these details aren’t a drama
to obtain. If you need to verify your original Bango ID (designated to
you when originally purchasing the service, even if purchased via
Paypal, App World or Pay on Bill) please email Bango at
support@bango.com. They will ask for some other details (such as phone
number, credit card details) in order to retrieve the Bango ID used to
purchase the service. Bango process all payments on behalf of
Shazam. After you provide these details, I can assist you further. Kind
Regards, Keira Robinson Customer Services

I've tried and then purchased it.
It's a good application, but it can be even better if they'll put in it more sharing options for social networks like twitter.

But its a TERRIBLE alternative app... its painfully slow to boot up and by the time its open and ready song could be over. Also the VZW app does not pull up the number of songs that Shazam does. I could NOT get Shazam to fail. VZW was about 70% on the songs I tried.

Overall, Shazam is completely superior because of above and the fact it can distinguish the difference in song and other dj remixes...

True, but the VZW App is dog slow. I've actually missed tagging a few songs because it takes so long to start up.

I still don't get why apps for BBs are either more expensive than those for the iPhone or why you have to pay for them at all if the same app is free for the iPhone.

I happen to own both, and I love them for different reasons, so I'm not going to say which one is better, but seriously, when it comes to applications, BBs get shafted by the same developer left and right.
Some examples: IM+ for BB $40 and for iPhone on sale right now for $1.99, but regular price $10.
Beejive regularly for BB = $30 and $10 for iPhone.
Tethering app for iPhone $10 (mine's jailbroken). Tethering for BB is $50!!!

Now Shazam is free for iPhones and $5 for BB? ha ha! it's laughable. Well, call me cheap or whatever you want, but my iPhone gets all the cool apps, even the ones I buy at the official app store or elsewhere because, in that department, my BB can't hold a candle to my iPhone, and it's a real shame...

For all those complaining about the iPhone version of Shazam, get your facts straight. Shazam WAS free with unlimited tages on the iPhone but now the free version is exactly the same as the one on Blackberry, with 5 tags per month. It costs $5 to upgrade to the premium version.

This is a very good app, but I would never tag more than 5 times per month, so have no need for the full version.

i mean can it read songs running from the blackberry applications itself, like moodio, streaming radio on the phone, etc.

i know you can hold the phone up to car speakers and get it to work...but i listen to radio streams a lot with moodio.

Nice app to find songs but I tried the free version a few months ago - I couldn't figure out how to use it....

Seriously, does the majority of BB users really use BB as a music device? I love my BB but when it come to music, I can't put iPod Touch down. I am never a big fan of concept that one device takes care of EVERYTHING. iPhone users always complain battery life but part of it is of course, they use it as a music player. Music, game, and all "fun" apps - I don't know how iPhone can deal with those without worrying about calling and texting at the end of day...

Yeah, I agree with you (I carry a Sony Walkman as well, primarily because of how hard the multimedia functionality of cell phones and smartphones hits the battery), but you have to remember - this is a music TOOL, not a music PLAYER!

I use my Walkman for my music/video content, and my 'Berry to keep track of the songs I want to buy (I buy ENORMOUS amounts of music on a regular basis (http://www.bandit.fm for all you Australians out there...), at least half of which is based on the music I've "tagged" with Shazam)... This is the sort of functionality for which Shazam is SPECIFICALLY designed, so use of the 'Berry's music player is irrelevant.

When I switched from a Sony Ericsson handset to my BlackBerry Bold 9000, the biggest sore point was the lack of support for Gracenote's "MusicID" service (which Sony Ericsson calls "TrackID")...

A quick Google search however, pulled-up a forum thread mentioning this application, which I then downloaded and I've never looked back!

If I had to pick my three favorite BlackBerry applications, this would be in the top two (RIM's Facebook client and BeejiveIM are the others)...

Why do the developers fail to see the reasoning in both instances. Apple ships ten million phones in a quarter and so does RIMM but somehow you have to charge BB customers often 500%+ more for the same app.

It makes no sense and worse still turns every argument on its head in terms of reasoning. If you are stuck on a platform where you are having to give away the app for free to even get noticed, then what you do on another platform, say Blackberry is charge very little so you quickly obtain critical mass on that platform. Instead they leave the gates wide open for competitors.

Charge $0.50 for this app. Sell two million copies and have it become common knowledge that the app you buy for finding music on BB is this app because everyone already has it, everyone already knows it, and gee, it is just $0.50. (This should be the reasoning for pretty much every app in every category and why prices should be at impulse buy levels.)

Instead they charge $5.00 probably sell next to nothing, and then when several more competitors come along, they will have to give it away for free to even get recognition.

Agreed!

Heck, I remember a local news story a while back that was about a 13 year old kid who wrote some basic app for the iPhone (don't remember exactly what it was). It took off, and though he only sold it for (IIRC) $.99, the kid has now made several hundred thousand dollars.

Great system. Make a simple app that everyone will like, make it cheap, and then you will sell tons.

You've neglected to take into consideration the market size for the applications. Developing applications on the BlackBerry is needlessly complicated, and the market is incredibly small relative to the iPhone.

If an application cost $1000 to make (just an example), and you need to make that $1000 back, you can sell 1000 copies for $0.99 on the iPhone, but good luck finding 1000 customers for your BlackBerry version. You may, for example, only expect to sell 250 copies on the BlackBerry, hence, the price is now four times higher just to recoup development costs.

When the BlackBerry App World begins to flourish with a significant amount of customers, you will begin to see lower prices, but until then, app prices will be high.

Another reason where iPhone excel over bb...dnt get me wrong i love my bb but y would you need to pay when other platform can get it for free legit?

the curren shazam free version on iphone is the same as blackberry's. It 's limited to 5 tags per month... Get your facts straight before you come on here and whine

I'm not sure of all the alternatives, but it would be nice to do a comparison with other Song ID apps.

Personally, I never really gave it too much thought about using the app, until I read the review. Convinced me to give it a try. Although the lack of sharing on social networks is a drawback, but with facebook, twitter etc are almost a part of everday life..I'm sure we'll see an update in the future.

I'm really stunned at how up in arms people get over the $5 pricetag. I mean, if you hang out with a bunch of music nerds (like I do), you're bound to hear a ton of good stuff. Tagging it so you can track it down later is well worth the $5, at least to me.

Moreover, you get 5 tags a month for free. It's a good app, and the developers deserve to be supported. Also, I have yet to find a way to pirate apps on BlackBerry (unlike iPhone/iPod Touch). So, there.

I'm one of those people. I reserve $5-like purchases for only what I deem to be the most critical apps, to me, such as Quicklaunch and BerryBuzz.

$5 is NOT an impulse purchase price. It is a decision price. IMHO, $.99 or less is an impulse price.

As a few people have indicated in this post, this conversation is absolutely rediculous.

People, we're talking about $5... FIVE BUCKS! That's a Venti Latte at Starbucks, a Subway sandwich, or a beer at your bar. No matter how you cut it, $5 IS an impulse purchase price. Unless you regularly shop at the Dollar Store, you are paying more than $0.99 for everything you buy.

If you put this into perspective, how much do you pay to 'pimp your blackberry' out with various peripherals, cases, etc., or how much do you pay per month for addons to your monthly cellphone plans (voicemail, texting, etc etc), or, quite simply, how much do you pay per month for your cellphone plan!!?? I mean, come on... $5 being a steep price? If you truly think this, then your still living at home and your parents pay for your cellphone plan.

Sure, iPhone applications are cheaper - they always will be. Reason being, Blackberrys are targeted more to the corporate world than iPhones are and as such, they can justify a steeper pricing model. If you don't like that, deal with it - go ahead, get your iPhone, it's no skin off of our backs. However, we all know you won't..why? Because if you did, you wouldn't be whining on this site, you would have gone out and purchased an iPhone (now that would be WAY more than $5...right??), and you would have thrown away your blackberry (again, that would be throwing away a lot more that $5 in equipment).

if your on Verizon its free (song id) And for some people $5 is alot believe it or not.Maybe you have the money and its no skin off your back but there are many people out there that are having trouble putting food on the table.Maybe they shouldn't even have a cell phone but thats life people probably shouldn't have alot of things including kids but they do .So cut some people some slack when they voice thier opion

The above review says works with the Tour - I'm looking at the BB apps site on my Tour and it doesn't mention compatibility with the Tour. What's up with that?

THE APP IS OK BUT I DON'T LIKE THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE A PAYPAL ACCOUNT TO BUY FROM THE APP STORE. BESIDES BB APPS ARE HORRIBLE

The iphone now does the same thing.

The app is great, but if it weren't for Robin on the forums here, I would still be waiting for my new # after getting a replacement device.
You have to give your first born to prove to Bango that you bought the app.
Them they contacted Shazam, who then contacted me...took about 3 weeks....

BTW I thought the song was Be my lover by La Bouche from the 90's :)

I can't believe no one has commented on the value of Shazam and similar apps for identifying INSTRUMENTAL tracks. It's much harder to find a song title/artist when there are no lyrics to search for online. Shazam has really helped me catch some good tunes I probably wouldn't have found otherwise. Well worth the $5.

according to Verizon Media Store SongID is not available for BB models, so I guess that doesnt help

i want to buy this shazam 2.1, but i cant see a link with Paypal Payment ? can u show me the link to buy with paypal ?

and if i try to buy shazam through (blackberry bold) with my credit card always paymen failed ... why ? i have input the valid number, exp number and security number but always failed ...

sorry if my english so bad ...

When downloading "Shazam" to my storm and setting it up I keep getting a "Sorry, Shazam didnt get a response. there may be a problem with your network connection....please check your network settings." Then asks me to enter my network details (ie. username, passwrd, WAP gatewy IP and WAP port) . What is this all about? the network connection is working correctly. And how do i get the WAP info? Help!

When downloading "Shazam" to my storm and setting it up I keep getting a "Sorry, Shazam didnt get a response. there may be a problem with your network connection....please check your network settings." Then asks me to enter my network details (ie. username, passwrd, WAP gatewy IP and WAP port) . What is this all about